Preparing your computer for analog video

on Thursday, June 19, 2008

Getting your computer ready to capture analog video is a lot like getting ready to capture digital video. Before you can capture analog video, you have to
  • Set up your capture hardware. I’ll show you what hardware you need and how to set it up in the following section, “Setting up capture hardware.”
  • Turn off unnecessary programs. Whether you’re working with analog or digital video, your computer will work more efficiently if you close all programs that are not needed for the actual capture process.
  • Make sure there’s enough free space on your hard disk. Five minutes of digital video uses about 1GB (gigabyte) of hard-disk space. Unfortunately, there is no single, simple formula for figuring out how much space your analog video will require.
Digital video recorded with a MiniDV, MicroMV, or Digital8 camcorder uses the DV codec, which uses a steady 200MB (megabytes) per minute of video. A codec — short for compressor/decompressor — is the software scheme used to compress video so it fits reasonably on your computer. Some analog-capture devices let you choose from a list of different codecs to use during video capture; many codecs have settings you can adjust. Which codec you use (and the settings you select) can greatly affect both the quality of your capture video and the amount of space it uses up on your hard disk. Fortunately, most analog video-capture programs make it pretty easy to determine whether you have enough hard disk space. The Pinnacle Studio capture window, for, shows you exactly how much free space is available on your hard disk, and it gives you an estimate of how much video you can capture using the current settings.